Rachel Hair: The Lucky Smile
Harpist Rachel Hair builds on her promising solo debut release, Hubcaps & Potholes, with this more expansive and subtly jazz-inflected disc. It is built around a basic trio featuring her harp, Andy Sharkey’s double bass and Paul Tracey’s guitar, with additional contributions from drummer Scott Mackay, percussionist Paul Jennings, producer Angus Lyon’s harmonium and Fender Rhodes, a solitary fiddle outing from Graham McGeoch and two Gaelic vocals from Joy Dunlop.
The harpist’s decision to go with players who are also involved on the Scottish jazz scene pays rich dividends, adding a touch of improvisational fluidity and both harmonic and rhythmic subtly to the music without sacrificing its traditional folk appeal. Her own playing is excellent, and her choice of material mixes attractive original compositions with well-chosen tunes from both traditional and contemporary sources.
(March Hair Records)